Like many high school students, Jack, aged 16, didn’t know what he wanted to do once he finished school. But after spending time in Fuji Xerox’s offices and with his business mentor as part of the Macquarie Park Business Community Partnership, Jack realised that work can be enjoyable and that finding your passion is important.
“We got to go out to Fuji Xerox, which I found really interesting because I hadn’t been in an office environment before. It was a very positive mentality – all the people had a vision and each one of them believed in that vision, which was pretty encouraging to see.”
Jack learnt valuable skills like how to present himself in an interview, and now knows being confident of his decisions and the ability to work as a team are vital for any workplace. He believes the experience, facilitated by United Way Australia, has helped shape his perspective towards work and he is really excited about the opportunities once he leaves school.
“I’ve gone from thinking of work as a chore, to thinking of it as something I really can’t wait to do. Now I’m actively looking for university courses and trying to picture my ideal career path. ”
Jack thinks all high school students would benefit from the mentoring and industry exposure he has, as it has enabled him to develop a plan to gain employment after he graduates from school.
“It’s changed my thoughts and perceptions of work and jobs. I’d definitely say go for it, because you’re investing in the rest of your life!”
Isabelle is part of United Way Australia’s youth employment initiative, run in Macquarie Park NSW. Working with and for students, schools, businesses and service organisations, the initiative helps increase students’ skills and knowledge to transition successfully from school to employment or further study.
One of the highlights is often when the business mentors offer practical advice based on their real life experiences and conduct mock interviews.
“I had a job in retail before, but going for that interview I had no idea what to expect. I was so nervous! It was really good that we got to do mock interviews, because it was like a real interview, except we got so much feedback and could ask lots of questions about the interview process.
Previously, I would just sit there and answer questions, but the mentors encouraged us to do research and ask questions about the job itself. When I think about going for a real job interview now I feel like “Oh yeah, I can do this, I’ve done it before”.
At first, Isabelle wasn’t sure how the initiative was going to benefit her but now thinks everyone should get involved. She heard from mentors who are involved in various industries and could give valuable insights to help her think about different pathways into employment.
The industry tours helped me discover that I enjoyed the hands-on side of science. I went to the Macquarie University student hospital, where we got to run basic tests on a medical dummy and use a keyhole surgery simulator. I found the practical experience so interesting that I want to try for medicine now!
“I knew I was interested in science, but that was about it – it just seemed too daunting to pick something more specific. If I don’t get into medicine, I’d still like to do something in the science field, like forensics or criminology. I’ve learned there are so many opportunities out there!”